Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama: between a rock and a hard place

From The JC.com, 3 Sep 2009, by Melanie Phillips:

...Obama has been pressuring Israel to freeze every brick and widow-frame of all settlement construction as a precondition for the US “getting tough” with Iran. This has caused Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to walk a diplomatic tightrope. But it is arguably President Obama who has the rope around his own neck.

Israel’s supposed policy of expanding the settlements was supposed to be the major stumbling-block to peace with the Palestinians and Arab support against Iran. This was absurd, and indeed Obama is now softening his stance.

... the idea that Israeli concessions were needed to bring the Arabs on side against Iran was ridiculous. The Arabs are desperate for the Iranian nuclear threat to be removed because Iran is an overwhelming threat to their existence.

The settlements are irrelevant to the Iran crisis — which has predictably become even more acute because Obama’s policy of appeasing the Arab and Muslim world has gone belly-up.

In response to his hand of friendship, the Iranian regime rigged its election, tortured and murdered its internal opponents and turned even more extreme.

As for Israel, Netanyahu faced down Obama over his attempt to define Jewish houses in east Jerusalem as “settlements” and to freeze construction there, too. Having united virtually all of Israel against him (only four per cent of Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel) the US President grovelled to the Arabs for a sign of some move towards peace with Israel. They refused.

He begged the Iranians to “engage” with him. In response, they have now appointed as defence minister Ahmad Vahidi, a terrorist wanted for the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires and who was also involved in the 2006 bombing of the Khobar Towers complex which killed 19 American soldiers. Meanwhile, Iran continues to develop the nuclear capability which threatens not just Israel but America and Europe.

In any event, Obama has already said that he will get tough with Iran if it remains intransigent by this autumn. .... And then what? When Plan B fails, what is Obama’s Plan C? ...“living with a nuclear Iran” or: the surrender of the west.

What Obama may yet come to realise is that he might need Israel to save him from electoral meltdown at home. ...The failure to stop Iran going nuclear on his watch could destroy his presidency. We may find, therefore, that the attitude towards Israel of the most hostile President in living memory soon undergoes rapid reprogramming.

President Obama is now between a rock and a hard place.... a possible choice between war against Iran and a mortal threat to his presidency....
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